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The Times Is Still At It

In its May 14 and May 18 editions, The New York Times demonstrated that its pro-Arab/anti-Israel bias continues to drive its treatment of the Middle East.

“Death In Riyadh” was the title the Times gave its May 14 editorial on the recent suicide bombings in the Saudi capital. Not murder, not killing, which would have drawn attention to
the heinousness of the deeds of the perpetrators, but the more neutral death, which points to the victims.

“The attacks,” the Times went on to say,  were aimed at several compounds that house
Westerners working in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Within the walls of the compounds, non-Muslims are able to replicate something akin to the lifestyles they had back home…. But Islamic fundamentalists have always been affronted by the enclaves, and for terrorists, the compounds serve as a handy symbol of the modern western culture they despise….

Many in the Western world will always view the tragedy as being about America, but to the people who carried it out, the terrorist attack was as much about Saudi Arabia….and [the terrorists'] … anger at the Saudi government’s alliance with non-Muslim Western nations.

The Bush administration hopes to replace that story with a new one, involving democracy, economic opportunity and liberty. It would begin with a new era in Iraq, the road to peace in Israel and increasing democratization in other Arab nations. Right now, with chaos in Baghdad and foot- dragging by Israel, that path looks treacherous. But it is the best current chance
for a way out, toward a future in which suicide attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by Muslims around the world not as a form of political protest, but as utter insanity. [Italics added.]

So for the Times, the answer to fundamentalist Arab terrorists who target the civilized world lies in understanding what upsets them and removing the irritants. Maybe then they will be induced to stop killing people. President Bush’s Operation Iraqi Freedom was misguided and counterproductive and Israel’s insistence that the Palestinians stop murdering its citizens is an
impediment to peace.

Last Sunday, on the eve of what was supposed to be the summit meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon to discuss the “road map,” the Times carried a story on the front page of its “Week in Review” section about MK Benny Elon’s vision of a Palestinian state in Jordan, that is, without the West Bank. Elon’s vision is not, publicly at least, supported by most Israelis, and Prime Minister Sharon has stated that he accepts the notion of a Palestinian state that includes at least part of the West Bank. Yet Elon is identified as a minister in Mr. Sharon’s government and the latter is speculated to be mulling over the possibilities of Elon’s plan, given the support such an approach would draw from the Christian Right, an important constituency of Mr. Bush’s.

Was it mere happenstance that the Times was giving such prominence to a story that could not
but put into question Israel’s credibility with President Bush? We think not. As is apparent from the layout of the front page of the “Week in Review” section (see accompanying photo), the Times went to what has to be an unprecedented length to attach significance to the story. How else to explain why the empty space on the page above the article is almost three times that allotted to the article itself?

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